So I’ve been a bit quiet recently. This is largely due to Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. Yes, I’m addicted.
The game itself is, supposedly, in the same vein as the other Assassin’s Creed games. I don’t know because I haven’t played, or even seen, them yet.
Generally the game is open-world, allowing you to explore the world, perform side-quests, or just live a piratical lifestyle until you decide to continue with the main quest. The main quest varies in style (on-foot or on the ship, various types of sub-mission such as follow, eavesdrop, locate, assassinate, etc) although it’s usually quite linear within a given environment. If you stray too far from the quest area or if you fail a primary quest objective it resets the quest. There are usually secondary objectives as well.
The world is quite beautifully rendered. The humans less so – especially in some cut-scenes. IMHO they suffer from the Uncanny Valley effect with wooden movements and unrealistic white glaring eyes being especially noticeable. During game action this is not really noticeable though, and the main character is quite nicely animated as he performs a wide range of actions.
Gameplay wise it’s quite varied – from parkour-style running exploration, captaining a sailing ship across the seas, pick-pocketing, sword-fighting, and even underwater diving exploration of shipwrecks. The main character performs all actions with aplomb and the controls are reasonably simple with the character choosing the correct action depending on environment. Unfortunately this means that sometimes he’ll try to climb a pole which is in the way rather than running around it…
But niggles are so far few and far between, the only other one of note is that occasionally the camera won’t rotate properly. This is most annoying when sailing as the camera controls are instrumental in selecting the ships’ weaponry during a naval battle.
There’s also an odd “future-day” style sub-game, which pops up occasionally. Without spoiling it for others, I’d just like to mention that I personally did not find it particularly intrusive or annoying and it does add a twist, which, again, may be present in the earlier Assassin’s Creed games as well so may not be anything new for fans of the series.
All up I think this is a great game.
- Nice graphics and animation.
- Open-world gameplay (when not in a main-mission) with lots of variety.
- Interesting main storyline.
- Uses plenty of historical data to make world seem believable.
- Cannot choose style of character (ie, “nice” or “evil”).
- In-game actions do not influence the storyline (story is “on rails”).
- Some cut-scenes are constantly repeated and get “old”.
- Character sometimes chooses poor actions, especially in complicated situations.
- Camera-control sometimes buggy.
- Occasional “frozen” enemies which can’t be interacted with.
- Easy – Medium